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Why only seven Kenyan varsities made it to Africa’s top 100

By By Peter Nguli | June 28th 2013

By Peter Nguli

If I was able to see far, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants. Those are the words of Isaac Newton who formulated the theory of gravitation.

When I was studying in England, I was fortunate enough to have slept in the same room where Isaac Newton was sleeping at Trinity College, University of Cambridge.

I am convinced that God does not play dice. For gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.

Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school. The important thing is not to stop questioning.

Curiosity has its own reason for existing. If you don't know what am talking about, I am quoting the words of Albert Einsten, the most important and intelligent scientist the world has ever seen.

We live in the world of science, read about science and science is really fun. Now get ready for Einstein's quotes.

Why did our universities perform so poorly in Africa? It is because they lacked several things. In order to explain you further, I will be solely quoting the words of Albert Einstein in this article.

First, our universities lack something called innovation. They still teach very old traditional useless degrees.

You will hear of degrees like Bachelor of Science (Wildlife), Bachelor of Science (Wood Science and Technology) and Bachelor of Arts (Music). These degrees have no place in Kenya and they have no role to play in an innovative society.

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. A person starts to live when he can live outside himself. God is subtle but he is not malicious. Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.

For I never think of the future. It comes soon enough. Any intelligent God is subtle but he is not malicious.

So He can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction. Imagination is more important than knowledge.

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. Those are the words of Albert Einstein if you didn't know. And I will continue. But before I do that, let me say this.

I guess that next time, you will hear of degrees such as Bachelor of Science (Charcoal), Bachelor of Science (Milk), Bachelor of Arts (Matatus) and Bachelor of Arts ( Kumbafu). Perhaps, you will even hear Bachelor of Arts (Bure Kabisa).

This is what is making our universities lag behind. Now, let us go back to the quotes of Albert Einstein. It follows that:

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. For great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds.

Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen. For science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it. The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.

The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education. Fortunately, God does not care about our mathematical difficulties. He integrates empirically.

The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility. Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing. Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.

Now, back to our discussion. The second thing is lack of morals. Our universities have become brothels where sex is sold so cheaply. We have the Campus Divers for Rich Men organization. These girls have let us down. So, I will quote Albert Einstein again.

Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater. Equations are more important to me, because politics is for the present, but an equation is something for eternity.

For if A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut. Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe but I am sure of human stupidity. 

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, as far as they are certain; they do not refer to reality. Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. In order to form an immaculate member of a flock of sheep one must, above all, be a sheep.

The fear of death is the most unjustified of all fears, for there's no risk of accident for someone who's dead.

Too many of us look upon Americans as dollar chasers. This is a cruel libel, even if it is reiterated thoughtlessly by the Americans themselves.

Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism -- how passionately I hate them! No, this trick won't work...How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love? 

My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.

Yes, we have to divide up our time like that, between our politics and our equations. But to me, our equations are far more important, for politics are only a matter of present concern.

A mathematical equation stands forever. The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking...the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind.

If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker. Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities.

The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.

Third we have lack of research in our universities. They do not teach mitigation and upcoming topics like Climate Change where we can learn new topics on innovation and Global Warming.

The Kenyan universities still concentrate on very old traditional topics. I have personally spent the last four days in the Polar Region in Iceland interacting with polar bears while on research on global warming.

You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles.

Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat.

Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts. Am not worried at all because people like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.

So do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.

Fourth, the Kenyan Universities still concentrate on chalk-and-talk traditional methods of teaching.

There is no interactive smart computerised white-boards. The world has changed my dear friends and we need to change with the world. At the moment, we need to use the computer board. Chalk and white board are an old forgotten ideal that belongs to the Old Middle Stone Age. Nowadays, we use interactive white board.

Fifth, our universities need innovation such that they can use PowerPoint presentations in their teachings.

They need to adapt new technologies and use the latest software like SPSS, the Statistical Package For Social Scientists and many other software.

Let universities innovate, mitigate and adapt to the changing ICT technology.


Top 100 universities in Africa

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